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First of all, I want to make something very clear. It's entirely possible to experience pain in your fingers when you urinate or defecate due to physical causes. It's not something people dream up. It really happens. The phenomenon is something called referred pain. It can also be due to fibromyalgia, which I will discuss a little later.

What's referred pain? There is a Steady Health writer who wrote about having a widow maker heart attack and having no pain in his chest, but feeling like he had broken his leg. Conversely, there are people who pull muscles in their backs and feel pain in their chests as if they were having a heart attack. Back injuries can also send shooting, burning pain down the legs. And abdominal tension can result in pain in the fingers. It's not something people dream up.

What is going on in referred pain? Not all pain receptors are equally sensitive. It's possible to have so much pain in the same location for so long that your brain essentially tunes it out. However, your brain isn't tuning out pain signals from other parts of your body. When something stresses a sensitive area, like your bladder or your colon, your brain becomes more aware of pain in general. You just happen to become aware of the pain you already had in your fingers that also was below your pain threshold until you happened to increase your pain level in general.

It's not that you're feeling the pain in your bladder or in your bowel in your fingers. It's that your bladder or your bowel is generating the chemicals that ordinarily trigger the sensation of pain, and your fingers are more sensitive to them. You might have a much worse pain in the part of your body that actually suffers some pathology if those nerves could detect it. Instead, you just feel the pain somewhere else.

Referred pain can also be a symptom of fibromyalgia. Pain in fibromyalgia occurs when certain pressure points are activated. There are pressure points on the inner thighs not far above the knees and also just above the fold of the buttocks and on either side of this fold. These pressure points are stimulated by sitting down on a toilet. If you have to strain to urinate or defecate, you put pressure on those points and the result is heightened sensitivity to pain. This usually would not be limited to your fingers, but it could include your fingers and be worse in your fingers.

What can you do to reduce this kind of pain? How can you find fibromyalgia pain relief?  If your doctors can wrap your heads around the fact that your symptoms are real, you'll probably get a prescription for a medication called Cymbalta. There are articles on Steady Health that discuss the side effects of Cymbalta. You might be offered an older medication called amitriptyline, which is marketed as Elavil. Amitriptyline is very inexpensive, about $4 a month in the US, but it can really cause you to gain weight. Both approaches are hit and miss. The drugs don't work for everyone.

Holistic interventions don't work for everyone, either, but they are worth a try.

  • Either take supplemental magnesium (250 mg to 500 mg) every day or make a habit of drinking mineral water. The magnesium "calms" pain receptors.
  • Try a seaweed extract called Wakasa Gold, or just add dulse and sea vegetables to your diet. Sea vegetables provide a range of minerals that help regulate your central nervous system.
  • When you "go," try a different posture. Sometimes the problem is straining muscles in your back or thighs. It seems a little odd that straining leg or back muscles can cause finger pain, but it can.
  • Get treatment for constipation, urinary tract infection, or genitourinary tract problems as needed. Burning fingers are the symptom, not the disease. If you treat the underlying disease, this puzzling symptom may just go away.

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